- On November 1, 2015
SEO For Artists
Search Engine Optimization and Why You Should Care
We all understand that our websites can be powerful tools for connecting to new audiences for our art. In theory, the equation is simple: bigger audience = more chances to build a follower/collector base, larger collector base = more sales, more sales = the ability to do your art full time… goodbye day job!
This sounds like a good idea, which is why most of us already have a website that promotes our art. Here’s the rub: it is not enough to simply have a website. Your website is a tool which needs constant attention, and optimizing your site can have incredible impact on your career.
To do this, you must consider SEO. The following guide will help you to navigate this seemingly complex issue and make the most of your web presence.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and why should you care?
- SEO is the process of improving your website to attract more visitors from search engines.
- Search engines strive to provide the most relevant, useful, and trustworthy results possible. In order to do this, engines send “spiders” crawling through the Internet searching for content. The spiders try to understand what each page is about in order to display the best results.
- From this data, results are generated and ranked by popularity and authority. The higher your popularity and perceived authority, the better your position when someone searches for sites like yours.
- Your goal is to be within the top 10 unpaid, or “organic”, results because this likely places you on the first page. The higher you rank the better: 60% of all clicks go to the top 3 organic search results.
Tools for Optimizing Your Website:
1. On-Page Optimization is one of the easiest things for you to update. Even if you hired a web designer to create your site and are uncomfortable delving into the underlying code, you typically have control of the content (text and images) as well as the alternate tags and meta-text for each page. Here are some things to consider as you create content:
Use Long Chain Key Words:
Key words are the search terms people use to search the web as well as a big part of how search engines translate and rank your website. When writing keywords, be as specific as possible, creating “long chain keywords”.
For example: What would happen if you Google “supplies”? You would end up seeing the biggest names for “supplies” across all industries (offices, schools, shipping, cleaning, etc.). What if instead you searched for “lapidary supplies Denver”? You get much better results.
Some things to consider when choosing keywords:
- What keywords are already driving traffic to your site?
- Which keywords do you have the best opportunity to rank for?
- If you are just starting out, it will be incredibly hard to rank in the top 10 organic search results for “art” or “printmaking” but will be easier to rank for “lithographic printer in Park Hill”
- Resources like keywordtool.io or Google Webmaster Tools can help you find keyword suggestions relevant to your industry and personal needs.
Optimize each page around a primary keyword and make sure to place it in the page title.
Add the primary keyword to the URL with dashes to separate words (websitename.com/long-tail-keyword-phrase)
Understand Who is Searching and Why:
Search engines are becoming increasingly intelligent: trying to understand not only your keywords, but also why the user is searching for them. This means that you can create content using language that relates to your key words more naturally, such as “sculptor”, “wood carver”, and “engraver” and still be understood.
Pay Attention to Alt-Text:
As an artist, much of your website is likely to consist of images. It is incredibly important to add your long chain key words to each image’s alt-text in addition to the title tag. Search engines cannot see images and must use the alt-text to understand what your images are.
Add Your Keyword to the Meta Description of Each Page:
This short summary follows the title in search engine results and although it doesn’t directly impact SEO, it can lead to higher click-through rate to your website. Make sure to keep it short and sweet, no more than 140 characters so a searcher can rapidly understand what you’re about.
Include Internal and External Links:
Search engines like it when you have a lot of internal and external links. The implication is that links are equal to an endorsement.
So, if a high profile website such as Time links to your site, you must be reliable, and your “authority” rating goes up. To a lesser degree, internal links do the same, so link to internal pages from your website such as the next image in a series or a related page.
Functional but Beautiful Design:
Your viewers are coming to your page for a visual experience, so make sure that you optimize the layout and design of your page. This means including plenty of white space around all images and text and highlight what is most important to you – your art.
Design your site to be intuitive and easily browsed. If your viewers have to study the site to understand where to go, they will simply move on to the next one.
Be Responsive and Optimize Your Website for Mobile.
As more and more web browsing is done via mobile, it becomes increasingly necessary to consider how your site will appear across a variety of devices and web browsers.
The current vogue is to create “responsive” sites, meaning websites query each device for its display dimensions and automatically adjust for the ideal presentation on that device.
Track Your Results:
Once you’ve put this much work into optimizing your site, use free tools such as Google Analytics to see the results and measure progress. This tool will help you track how visitors interact with your site, how they found it, and which parts they respond to the most.
Google Analytics are easy to install and use, for assistance reference: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1008080?hl=en
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates a talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” -Stephen King